More officers are leaving the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Eastern Cape every year than the number appointed.
The DA believes that a well-governed province would ensure the safety of its residents and implement the necessary measures to do so. The first step is a well-manged police service that is active and visible in all our communities.
According to a reply to a legislature question I asked Safety and Liaison MEC Weziwe Tikana recently, 569 officers left the service in 2016/17, while 379 officers were employed. While the SAPS made 579 appointments in contrast with the 528 officers who left in 2015/16, a staggering 869 officers left the service in 2014/2015 while only 128 posts were filled.
The Democratic Alliance is concerned with the rate at which officers are leaving law enforcement and why SAPS is not filling the funded vacancies. The Eastern Cape needs a fully capacitated police force with all the necessary resources in order to fulfil their Constitutional mandate in protecting the public and upholding law and order.
We have been calling for years for specialised units to combat gang violence that will focus on regions such as the Northern Areas in Port Elizabeth. Instead, the lack of manpower is forcing the SAPS to take officers from various divisions to create ad hoc task teams, leaving many divisions under-capacitated which affects service delivery.
Some of the reason cited for officers leaving were own business, personal grievances, better remuneration and opportunities, fatigue and ill health.
It was reported in the media recently that a call by the SAPS for the reenlistment of former members who had left was met with resistance due to low salaries and unfair opportunity for promotion.
The provincial leadership of the SAPS must ensure they create the right culture within the organisation that retains skills and ensures that our police officers are motivated.
Marshall von Buchenroder
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